Following Tester Pressure, IHS Backs Down & Agrees to Make Weber Report Summary Public
Senator doubles down, calls for oversight hearing: “Transparency in government shouldn’t require pulling teeth”
Following the Indian Health Service (IHS) announcement today that it will make available to Congress a redacted version of its report on the decades of abuse perpetrated by Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber and that it will release the report’s redacted executive summary to the public, U.S. Senator Jon Tester pushed the agency to do more to hold themselves accountable.
“I’m glad IHS is taking a step in the right direction, but halfway measures aren’t good enough,” said Tester. “As I’ve repeatedly told them, IHS needs to make the full, redacted Weber report public, and I’m calling for an oversight hearing so we can hold them accountable. Transparency in government shouldn’t require pulling teeth, especially when it comes to the safety of kids in our communities.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of weeks of intense pressure from Tester on the agency. In a letter to Health and Human Services Director Alex Azar earlier this month, Tester led the charge in calling on IHS to hold themselves accountable and make public the report that details their decades-long mishandling of crimes by convicted sex-offender, Dr. Weber.
“Time and time again IHS protected Dr. Weber, allowing him to continue working with children despite complaints of abuse,” wrote Tester. “…IHS failed to protect the very people it is intended to serve. [They] must be held accountable, and the findings from the independent investigation will be crucial to ensuring that these crimes never occur again.”
Tester continued: “I strongly urge you to release a version of this report to the public.”
Tester is also calling for the full Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold an oversight hearing on why IHS has dragged its feet on making the report public, and he recently joined a group of his colleagues in demanding the agency release the full, unredacted report to Congress.
Last month, the IHS refused to disclose the report, which identifies officials responsible for mishandling Dr. Weber’s case as he abused Native American boys over the course of multiple decades. Citing a law set up to protect medical reviews, the agency declined to hold themselves accountable to victims, their families, and their communities by shuttering the report from the public.
The decision to keep the report confidential quickly followed Dr. Weber’s conviction for sexual abuse, for which he was sentenced to five lifetime prison terms.
Read Tester’s letter to Secretary Azar HERE.
Read Tester’s letter with his colleagues HERE.